Agenda item

North Tyneside Transport Strategy Annual Report

To consider the annual report outlining activities and trends relating to transport in the borough over the last year as required by the North Tyneside Transport Strategy.   

 

 

Minutes:

Cabinet received the North Tyneside Transport Strategy Annual Information Report which summarised the work undertaken to demonstrate progress against delivery of performance of the Transport Strategy for the period 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021.

 

A Transport Strategy Data Factsheet summarising the key performance data for 2020/21 was included at Appendix 2. A further Factsheet which highlighted the changes in travel following the Covid-19 pandemic was included at Appendix 3. 

 

The five principles of the Transport Strategy guided the Authority’s actions and acted as a framework for measuring performance. The annual information report summarised the Authority’s performance against each of the principles below:

 

·         Principle 1 – Improve safety, health and well-being outcomes and sustainability; in relation to people, communities and the environment;

 

·         Principle 2 – Support economic growth; through effective movement for people, businesses and goods and to support the regional aim of “more and better jobs”;

 

·         Principle 3 – Improve connectivity; with all parts of the borough, the region, the rest of the country and the world;

 

·         Principle 4 – Enable smart choices for all; help people, businesses and visitors find out how to get to where they need to; and

 

·         Principle 5 – Manage demand; on transport networks and assets and address current and future transport challenges.

 

The report indicated that North Tyneside’s transport network was becoming safer: the number of road accident cluster sites continued to decrease, from six in 2019 to five in 2020, which reflected the Authority’s targeted major scheme investment over recent years. The total number of road collisions had decreased by 17% in 2020, having shown a broadly steady trend over the previous three years, while collisions involving cycling were below the 2018 level, although higher than 2019 against a background of increased cycling. 2020 had also seen a decrease of 32% in pedestrian casualties, which, except for a c.30% lower figure in 2017, had been at a similar level over recent years.

 

Cycling was becoming even more important as a way of getting around North Tyneside, with cycling trips increasing by 59% in the last year, much higher growth than was seen in Tyne and Wear as a whole. This was enabled in part by temporary cycling schemes including the 4km pop-up cycleway along the coastal strip. To support the growth in everyday cycling in North Tyneside, the Authority continued to invest in cycling infrastructure and continued to seek opportunities to improve the Authority’s cycling network. This was demonstrated through the upcoming investment in 14km of new strategic cycle network to be delivered between 2021 and 2023.

 

Air quality throughout the borough had been confirmed as compliant with legal standards, assisted by recent measures such as retrofitting technology to reduce emissions from buses on the A1058 Coast Road.  However, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on travel patterns meant that securing a shift away from car use had been difficult in the short term, and overall motor traffic volumes in April-May 2021 were slightly greater than pre-Covid levels. Public transport use, although still generally below half of pre-Covid levels, was showing a recovering trend.

 

The Authority’s investment had helped North Tyneside’s transport network to flow better, with £18m invested over recent years, largely from external funding, in targeted major schemes. This had addressed pressures at specific locations on the network and improved accessibility to destinations including major employment sites, helping to support the borough’s economy and assist in the delivery of the Local Plan objectives.

 

Alongside this, the Authority continued to deliver an annual programme of local transport improvements which helped to address issues identified from transport data or raised by Members or residents, with 14 local road safety schemes being delivered in the past year.

 

The Authority’s work with local schools had seen a substantial rise in sustainable travel, from 69% to 88%, at the four schools where ‘School Streets’ had been introduced on an 18-month trial basis, with the streets outside the school gates reserved for walking and cycling at the start and end of the school day, with children and their parents encouraged to travel actively or use ‘park and stride’.

 

Work with schools also involved help to develop young people’s skills to walk and cycle safely. The Authority offered national standard ‘Bikeability’ cycling training to schools across the borough and, although impacted by Covid-19 restrictions, 651 training places had been delivered in 2020/21; road safety education was also offered in schools. Through its ongoing ‘Go Smarter’ programme, the Authority promoted the use of sustainable and active transport in schools, as well as involving children in identifying improvements to cycling and walking infrastructure.

 

The Authority had also secured funding for a fleet of pedal-powered, electrically assisted e?Cargo bikes to help improve air quality, promote sustainable travel and support local businesses in making smarter travel choices.

           

Following the first national lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in March 2020, the Authority moved promptly to re-start the provision of highways services, including highway maintenance, car park management and the School Crossing Patrol service, helping to address challenges around Covid-19 recovery.

 

In addition, the Authority had helped local businesses to resume trading by introducing a temporary ‘pavement licence’ for cafés, pubs and restaurants to place chairs and tables outside their premises to assist in the hospitality sector’s Covid-19 recovery.

 

The Cabinet Member for Environment commented that overall, she was pleased to present a really positive report, despite the challenges the Authority had faced due to the Covid-19 global pandemic over the period.  The Authority had a solid platform to build on to deliver the elected Mayor’s manifesto pledges, specifically increasing the opportunities for safe walking and cycling and seeking to make North Tyneside carbon net-zero by 2030. 

 

Resolved that the content of the report and associated supporting information contained in Appendices 1 and 2 to the report be noted.

 

Supporting documents: